Critical Role: Goodbye, Old Friends

For the last couple of years, I’ve been on an epic journey, with some old friends. That journey has recently come to an end.

Back in July of 2015, I was puttering around on Youtube, and saw a link to something called Critical Role. It was a three and a half hour video, but the thumbnail looked interesting, so I decided to check it out.

Much to my surprise, I found myself watching Chrissy Sever, Tohru Honda, Roy Mustang, and Kenny the Wubbie Kid playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons, with some friends. I have been a dedicated fan, every since.

Make no mistake. These are old friends. I grew up with Ashley Johnson and Taliesin Jaffe. Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham were two of my favorite voice actors, long before Critical Role. I didn’t know I knew who Sam Riegel was, but one look at his list of credits, and I realized, I’d known him a long time,  and the same goes for Liam O’Brien.

These people were part of my world, long before this crazy little internet show happened, some for much of my life.

Just as D&D has been part of my world, for almost 35 years now. Seeing them, playing this game, it was like the stars had aligned, and given me something beautiful I didn’t even know was missing from my world.

Something that, for the last year and a half now, has kept me smiling, when my world was falling apart, as my girlfriend of 22 years was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.

I’m not the most vocal Critter out there. I don’t spend a lot of time with the community. It’s my nature to be the quiet kid in the corner, and always has been. But, I am a Critter, through and through. I’ve seen every episode, at least twice, and, well, let’s be honest, I spend every Thursday on this blog, that’s suppose to be about me as a writer, talking about a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons.

At first, what Critical Role meant to me was this sensation that I’m not so alone as a I often feel. That even these people, some of whom, again, I’ve watched on tv and in movies since I was a kid, did the same things I loved to do. It’s strange how something so simple as that can affect you, give you a feeling of belonging, and of make you feel less alone.

Then, Storm got sick, and Critical Role became part of how I coped. It was a brief bit of time, when I could be somewhere else, not feeling the pain, at least, not as acutely. It was a haven, from the crumbling of my life, and I would leave every episode feeling like I could face it all, for just a little longer.

Because I wasn’t alone. I had this epic journey, with these old friends, and they held me up, by just letting me be a part of that journey.

Of course, I was never alone. Not really. It just felt that way. I had a lot of people, and still do, helping me get through. Many of them, reading this right now.

Still, for a while there, Thursday night was when I got to step back from it all, and Friday afternoon was when I shared it all, and watched Storm smile, and laugh, as I told her what had happened on Critical Role.

Every journey ends. Sooner or later, we all have to say goodbye. At some point, far sooner than I care to think about, Storm and I will come to the end of ours, and I will continue on alone.

Just as the journey I have made with Vox Machina has ended.

I do not know what my future holds. I cannot even bear to think on it. Not right now anyway. Some day, maybe, but not right now. Come January, or there abouts, Critical Role will begin a new campaign, with those old friends playing new characters. It will be different, but I think, that’ll be okay.

As a wise old man once said, everything ends, and it’s always sad. But then, something new begins, and that’s always happy.

A new journey is going to begin, and it’ll be different. It won’t feel like the old one, that we all loved so much. There will be new characters, and everything is going to be awkward, as we keep expecting to see to see bits of the old characters crop up. A little Dagger, Dagger, Dagger, or an inspiring take on Britney Spears. It won’t happen, and there’s be a little ache in the heart, as we miss that which is gone.

But something new always begins, and that’s always happy.

Storm said to me the other day, that when she is gone, she doesn’t want me to be lonely for the rest of my life.

I won’t be. I’ll have my friends, and they are going to take me on an epic journey, with new friends, I look forward to loving, as much as I have the old ones who have moved on.

To be honest, I don’t know that I’ll ever move on myself. Storm has been, for over half my life, my entire world. The love of my life. How do you move on from that?

I don’t know.

For now, all I can do, all I know to do, is just lean on these old friends of mine, and let them carry me, until the future I cannot conceive right now, becomes something I can.

Thank you, Vox Machina. Thank you, Critical Role. Thank you, my old friends.

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